Like most of you, I ate my weight in Boston butt (aka pork shoulder) this past July 4th and we still had enough leftovers to feed a small village. The hard part is using those leftovers and making them into something fresh and tasty. So I have a quick recipe for you that does just that.
Pulled Pork Quesadilla with Avocado Cream (makes 4)
4 8in flour tortillas
1 cup cooked pulled pork
1 large zucchini cut into small cubes
1 small onion diced
1 clove garlic mined
½ tsp cumin
1/3 cup BBQ sauce of your choice
1 ½ cups shredded cheese (I bought Kraft Mexican mix)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
Pre-heat a sauté pan and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add onions and sauté until translucent (about 2 min). Add zucchini. Add cumin and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until zucchini is soft and heated through – stirring often (about 4 min). Set aside. Pre-heat a non-stick pan. On a flour tortilla spread a thin layer of BBQ sauce. Place tortilla in pan and on one half, add a ¼ cup of the zucchini mixture, ¼ cup of the pulled pork, sprinkle liberally with cheese. Fold over the other half, creating a half-moon. Toast one side till brown and flip. Cook till cheese is melted and tortilla is brown. Repeat for three remaining tortillas. Cut into wedges and serve with a side of BBQ sauce and avocado cream. Don’t like avocado? Just use sour scream.
1 ripe avocado
½ cup sour cream
½ tsp cilantro – minced
½ clove garlic – minced
1 TBSP fresh lime juice to taste
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
In a bowl add all ingredients and mix till creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.
Do-it-Yourself Boston Butt
If you’re daring you can make your own pulled pork. I always thought it was a long and arduous process of slaving over an open pit to make something that good. Well, I’m here to say, it is not; though my first time was no party either. I have always been told, “Don’t serve something at a party that you haven’t tested first.” I tempted the fates and tried my hand at Boston butt. My friend Rob had mastered it, so I was willing to step up with my man-apron on and try it myself.
Cook using indirect heat (not directly over the heat source)
Cook at 250 – 275 degrees
Cook from 9 – 12 hours
Seasoned for Taste
After purchasing my 20 lbs of pork shoulder (2 shoulders), I chose to use a dry rub rather than a marinade. Why? I didn’t plan in advance. Marinating or brining meat infuses flavor deeper than just surface level but it takes a long time. Dry rub, however, is quick and easy to do. Plus, if you are making pulled or chopped pork the outside seasoning will get mixed throughout. You can purchase dry rubs at any mega mart – like Emeril Lagasse’s Rib Rub. I use my own rub made of chili powder, chipotle pepper, cinnamon, all spice, garlic powder, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
The Game Plan
Heat the grill to high (I use a gas grill) and sear all sides of the meat; then turn off all but one burner; keep the remaining burner on medium-low heat or a constant temperature of 250-275 degrees; place the shoulders the farthest away from the one burner, fat side up; and cook 9-12 hours. Fool proof, right? Well, they didn’t expect this fool. I thought the best way was to put the pork on before I went to bed and viola! It’s ready when I awake. What I didn’t plan for is my inability to regulate the heat of the grill; it was either too hot or not hot enough. I felt like a parent of a newborn, I got up every 2 hours to check on my 20lb pork baby. I needed a baby monitor for my pork.
Half asleep and exhausted from pork sitting, I took the meat off the grill 12 hours later; and I have to say it turned out GREAT! The labor of love paid off. Plus, the next time it got easier. I wouldn’t say I am a grill master but I get more sleep when I prepare a Boston butt.
Tip o’ the Day
My friend Rob taught me another trick. Sear the shoulders really well on the grill, and then put them in a deep baking pan, cover with foil and place in a pre-heated 250 degree oven for 12 hours. The temperature stays constant in the oven and the aroma that fills the house as you sleep allows for the best pork dreams ever.